BRUSSELS, 18 September 2006 - The OSCE does not recognize the referendum on independence held 17 September in Transdniestrian region of Moldova, the Organization's Chairman-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, said today, recalling a statement he made in July.
"We indicated from the beginning we do not support a unilateral referendum which calls into question the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova," he said.
"A referendum on Transdniestria's future status, on the other hand, is a possible option, but that could only be after a political solution has been agreed at the negotiating table and only provided the necessary conditions for a free and fair vote are in place."
In 1993, the OSCE established a Mission in Moldova mandated to assist parties in consolidating the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, along with an understanding about a special status for the Transdniestrian region.
Voters in Transdniestria were asked whether they (1) support the course of independence for the "Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic" and the subsequent free joining of Transdniestria to the Russian Federation, and (2) consider rejecting the independence of the "Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic" and subsequently becoming part of the Republic of Moldova.
"The suggestive character of these questions and the lack of basic requirements for free and fair elections, such as freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and political pluralism, in the region pre-determined the results of such an exercise," said Minister De Gucht.
"I am deeply concerned that this referendum will further complicate the situation in the region. I call on the Transdniestrian authorities to re-join the negotiation process instead of organizing referenda," he added.